Gee’s Bend quilt lovers young and old, near and far, newly converted and veteran, take note: the Souls Grown Deep Foundation has given 15 of those abstract wonders—by key figures like Mary Lee Bendolph, Delia Bennett, and Annie E. Pettway—to the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of a gift of 24 pieces that also includes works by Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, and Bessie Harvey.
It’s the latest in a series of gifts that Souls Grown Deep, which specializes in acquiring work by African-American artists from the Southeastern United States, has been making to art museums around the United States, with previous beneficiaries being the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the New Orleans Museum.
“The museum has a longstanding commitment to acquiring works by artists out of the mainstream, but the collection has been insufficiently represented by the works of African American artists working in a visual tradition that is unique to the Southeast,” Timothy Rub, the museum’s director, said in a statement. “Now we can present a much more comprehensive picture of the diversity of artistic expression in the post-Civil Rights era.”
Maxwell L. Anderson, the president of Souls Grown Deep, said, “Partnering with the PMA and a growing number of other museums will ensure that the work and history of these artists is accessible to a broad audience.”